The vast majority of Latin Americans speak Spanish or Portuguese. We have basically the same religions and very common history and traditions. Still, we are very divided. Try to pass a border between any Latin American country and see how much waste time goes there. Try to see how much smuggling is part of life all across our borders.
One of the main reasons for this division has been caudillismo: national interests, specially those of the military castes and the local caudillos, have trumped it all. Then there are ideologies or pseudo-ideologies. Chávez claims, for instance, to be a promotor of Latin American integration, but if anything, he has been one of the main factors for division: he wants it his way, which is mostly based on resentment and his curious mixed of military obsessions and ideology, with a lot of show and zero policies for sustainable development. You don't become more independent just by changing your clients and destroying further your own industry. Cuba has also been another obstacle for unity: Latin American countries have remained divided in their approach towards the island. As the United States has taken a very blind and silly approach towards Cuba, many Latin American countries have taken a similarly stupid approach and decided to be silent about the Cuban dictatorship - out of a false sense of solidarity. In this sense, Latin American countries have reacted towards the Castro clan as African countries did towards Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
Still, I wonder: would the US and the EU be interested in Latin America becoming a cohesive union, something even more cohesive than the EU?
- would they be able to sell as many weapons to a Latin American Union as they do now to the different military forces throughout Latin America?
- would they have the same clout regarding trade agreements, specially when it comes to subsidies and import tarifs?
- would they have the same weight when pretending to be interested in a "War on Drugs" while paying for more and more cocaine?
- would their security firms and defence machineries earn as much if the War on Drug is suddenly solved?
Tenemos que hacerlo. We will have to discuss things like: what is actually Latin America? Is there a common identity that should trump anything else for its own sake or is Latin Americanness a useful practicality? What common grounds do we have with the rest of the world and how can we help to produce a fairer international community?